Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. If you are using an earlier version (Excel 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Excel, click here: An Average that Excludes Zero Values.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated October 28, 2017)
Veronica knows how to use the AVERAGE function to determine the average of a range of values. She would like to have the average determined based on the non-zero values in the range, however.
The worksheet function most suited to this purpose is to use AVERAGEIF. You can use it in this manner:
This function only includes in the average those cells that contain values greater than zero. If you want to also exclude blank cells, you should use the AVERAGEIFS function. This function differs from AVERAGEIF in that it allows you to specify multiple criteria that indicate which cells to average.
Of course, if you want to approach the problem "old school" (without using AVERAGEIF or AVERAGEIFS), then there are several ways you can proceed. The first is to remember how an average is calculated. It is defined as the sum of a range of values divided by the number of items in the range. Thus, you could figure the exclusionary average by simply making sure that the denominator (the number you are dividing by) does not include any zero values. For instance:
This approach uses the COUNTIF function to determine the number of cells in the range (A1:A50) that don't contain zero. If this range contains not only zeros but also blank cells, and you don't want the blank cells figured into the result, then you need to use a more complex formula:
The COUNTIF function counts cells that do not explicitly evaluate to 0, but it will count blank and text cells. The COUNTBLANK term adjusts for the blank cells and the difference between COUNTA and COUNT adjusts the total count for cells that contain text.
Of course you can also use an array formula to do your calculation:
Remember that array formulas need to be entered by using the combination Ctrl+Shift+Enter. This array formula also excludes blanks or cells containing text.
All in all it is easier to use the AVERAGEIF or AVERAGEIFS functions. When would you not want to use them? When you need to share your workbook with users of Excel versions prior to Excel 2007. (This is when the functions were added to Excel.)
ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (7729) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: An Average that Excludes Zero Values.
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